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10 Aug 2023

Looking through the digital lens: Leading People, Digital and Culture

Looking through the digital lens: Leading People, Digital and Culture

This year’s #altc conference theme, “Looking through the digital lens: 30 years of Leading People, Digital and Culture”, will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Association for Learning Technology and offer a much needed opportunity to reflect and gather inspiration for the academic year ahead.

Conference Co-Chair Lawrie Phipps said “We are seeing huge changes across the sector, changes to technology, changes to the political environment, and increasing pressure on university staff to react to those pressures. We wanted to be able to speak about experiences of being in an institutional role around educational technology, but also the shift to more strategic leadership… [dealing] with both institutional politics, and the real politics of government pressure.”

The conference will critically examine the organisations and practices we work in through a digital lens, fostering a community of future leaders and innovators in the digital space, who come together to exchange ideas, collaborate, and drive change.

Community in this context also means thinking about what expertise is needed – well beyond the educational technology and technical expertise: organisational change leadership and management, business analysis, and the student voice.

This year’s conference themes:

  • Leading People in a time of complexity: How have individuals and teams driven change to solve complex and difficult problems?  How have individuals and teams been rewarded and recognised in their institutions for being experts and leaders in digital learning?
  • Diversity and Inclusion: How are the most precarious and disadvantaged people being supported and empowered through technology? What future exclusions must we fight?
  • Sustainability and Social Justice: How green is your educational technology? How will we model green and sustainable practices in the field of educational technology and what does it mean for institutions? How do you make decisions about tech that proactively care for the most vulnerable people among us?  How should we model practices that account more for the health and well-being of people than that of businesses trying to sell technology to the education sector? 
  • Emerging technologies and behaviours: How are emerging technologies, or new uses for existing technologies changing behaviours and practices? What do emerging technologies mean for learning, teaching and assessment? How do we prepare students and staff to critically face the hype cycles around tools such as Machine Learning, and teach them to sift through what companies are claiming, to find the truth?

We are seeing an ever widening group of professionals engage with digital technologies for learning, teaching and assessment, so you might well ask, is ALT and its conference the right place for you?

Conference Committee Member, Dr Adriana Wilde, reflects:

“Definitely, yes! If it is in your title, job description, or even just “hidden” as underpinning aspects of any of your roles.  However, anyone engaging with learning technologies in some capacity (all of us, especially post-COVID) would feel at home in ALT. In my case, I have witnessed this growth as the conversation around what were regarded as novel practices only a few years ago, are now commonplace across many educational environments, from schools to universities, and beyond.

Many of the themes once explored in ALT-C have undergone phases of acceptance from initial controversy and resistance to widespread adoption. In its 30 years, ALT-C has been a broad church, welcoming all who play roles in the digital technologies space (either managing, designing, researching, or facilitating the use of). The discussions taking place in this conference were both acutely relevant at the time and have been future proof as my reflections above demonstrate.

So, if you would like to take part in the discussions this year, this is, highly likely, the place for you too. Will I see you in Warwick in September? Drop by and say hello!”



This article was written by Katie Johnson.
If you would like to find out more about this year’s #altc conference, click here.





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